Human smuggling is a high-risk, often high-yield business, with migrants in Latin America paying $5,000-$10,000 each for the long, illegal journey in the care of smugglers.
Smugglers, known as "coyotes," say they must pay off officials, gangs operating on trains and drug cartels controlling the routes north.
Judging by the dramatic increase in the number of minors apprehended in the United States in recent months, it seems the human smuggling business from Central America is booming.
The exact profit is hard to calculate. One expert puts it at $3,500 to $4,000 per migrant if the journey goes as planned. Smuggling organizations may move from dozens to hundreds of migrants at a time.
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